Snappy sayings, like Click It or Ticket, are intended to persuade people to buckle up in the car. But slogans are not enough to influence the behind-the-wheel behavior of teenagers – the population group least likely to wear seat belts, according to DriveitHome?. In fact, most teens killed in automobile crashes are not wearing seat belts. Here are a few tips on how to convey to your teen the importance of wearing a seat belt.
Be a good role model
From a young age, children watch their parents drive and pick up good and bad driving behaviors. They learn driving habits long before they take the driving test. If you regularly buckle up your seat belt and make sure everyone in the car is belted in, your teen is more likely to do the same.
Acquaint your teen with the statistics
The statistics on teens and seat belt use are public information; make sure your teen knows about them. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens, claiming over 3,000 lives a year. More than half of teen drivers killed in car crashes aren’t wearing seat belts, and teen passengers who die in car crashes are even less likely to be wearing belts. Explain that using a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by about 50 percent.
Insist on a driver’s education course
The majority of teen driver accidents result from driver inexperience, according to the New York Department of Health, so the more driver’s education your teen gets, the better. In some states, teen drivers are legally required to take some type of driver’s education course before getting a learner’s permit. Even if your state doesn’t mandate a formal driving class, you can make it a requirement in your own household. State Farm Insurance experts say that 34 percent of American teenagers receive more than one type of driving instruction, including private and school-based courses, with both classroom training and behind-the-wheel practice. Insist that your teen get guided driving experience under his or her belt to improve his or her safety record and foster the habit of buckling up.
Monitor your teen’s driving behavior
Many teens learn to drive in a family car while they are living at home, so parents are in the best place to monitor their driving habits. According to the New York Department of Health, parental management of teen driving, including setting rules and making sure they are followed, cuts the crash risk in half. Ride with your teen often to keep your eye on how he or she is doing and to be supportive. Stress that he or she must always wear a seat belt. A violation of this basic safety rule should carry stiff consequences for your young driver.